Composition in all of the arts: painting, fiber arts, music, and yes, cooking.

The Canyon, karen gillis taylor, mixed media (pastel, wc on vellum and PShop)

Arranging elements to try and make a perfect thing: a painting or musical song or wonderful dish to eat. That’s what composition is all about to me. (Remembering there is no such thing as perfect, thank goodness!)

I happen to work with exceptional quilt makers at my day job. The entire building is full of creative masters of their craft. They know how to put pieces of fabric into an amazing work that defies one’s common idea of the quilt as society might know it. I will get some examples in my later posts that will knock your socks off.

My brother is a composer of music. He is so far ahead of this time that I cannot even describe it well, but from time to time he makes wonderful arrangements for our family. He has done two special things for us: his arrangement of the song, “Always”, which was our mom and dad’s song. Then he made another arrangement for our coffee shop business a few years ago, which was so fantastic, recalling another era of music for coffee lovers of days gone by.

This all brings it back to my own favorite ways of composing: painting and cooking. This above image of a canyon at night has elements of composition that art students are discovering. Since this blog has many art students reading, I will just give you a few hints: asymmetrical, contrast, dynamic, diagonal, value.

How does this get us back to the all important subject of composition in cooking? I won’t talk about arranging food on a plate, which is fun too. The main thing with cooking is to choose elements that work together in the right proportions, color and flavor.

This is pretty much the essence of good painting for me. A painting has a flavor to it as well. If we can figure out what our best “flavor” is, our work begins to take on real meaning. So I tell myself. What are you composing that will express the flavor of your life?


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